A home which is perfectly designed for all family members, from grandchildren to grandparents. Isn’t this a dream for many?
Some clients ask us for a house they could live in for at least 25 years. A home that would grow with the family, anticipating and accommodating different needs at each stage. One that could adapt to their children’s requirements as they grow into adulthood and where they could comfortably accommodate grandchildren in the years to come. Besides, they ask for a practical, low maintenance building and garden, filled with light and blurred distinctions between the indoors and outdoors.
The first challenge for us as designers is how to create a large home that doesn’t dominate the street scene and is embedded in a green and sunny outdoors. The larger the house the biggest the challenge! A home that doesn’t have a tall defensive fence, on the contrary, a welcoming place offering openness and life, rethinking the suburban concept of the back garden and allowing a visual connection through, in a continuous way green strips.
Environmental awareness is key to building a home to last for a long time; long enough to go beyond a generation. Insulation, solar array, water collection, high-performance glazing, adjustable sun shading and siting: a long term house is a sustainable home. In addition to sustainability, special attention to the internal distribution and interiors are also required for an adaptable and long term design.
For a child-friendly environment a well designed patio and outside play area with transitional spaces between the outside and inside are important. For example, a boots room or varandah space can improve in practical terms the house relationship with the garden as well as improving the look of the interiors. Think muddy bicycles, scooters and wet coats!
You will need properly furnished artwork areas, multipurpose and acoustically insulated playrooms, wide tables for spreading pieces of papers and colour pencils over. You could install a pegboard wall, as children would love to tack their Polaroid of funny moments spent together and their drawings and notes; it also will allow them to rearrange shelves for their height and needs. Chalkboard paint is also a huge trend -and why not? It creates a ready surface where you can jot down your to-do list for the busy weekend, as well as a place where your kids (and even you!) can express your artistic urges whenever the mood strikes.
One more tip: a wide welcoming table or a huge kitchen island will be the anchor of the room when it comes to cooking and eating together as a family kitchen.
These are just some of the ingredients of a cross-generational happiness recipe! It’s up to you and your trusted architect now to find out the right mix for a “Grand-” home design.